The cold looks from your family members as you dive into email on your Blackberry don't even faze you anymore, do they?

I'd like to propose that we all take a vacation "for real", and that we might want to try a CONNECTION vacation, not just simply relocating our bodies to the beach while we keep working 24/7.

I found some articles about people like us who are hugely addicted to "checking in" (aka: Working on vacation) and they tried disconnecting with various degrees of success:

  • Peter Greenberg (an IT pro who made it 48 hours offline after blowing it the first day)
  • Chris Moore (a CIO who talks a good game, but sounds like he's still checking email on vacation)
  • Paula Gardner (a true account of a work junkie who winds up in an un-wired environment)

I was surprised to find that without exception, the articles about wireless vacations were raves about how much better their vacations were BECAUSE THEY DISCONNECTED. And the work load they returned to was no big deal.

Here are some ideas for vacations that force you to put down the phone and power off the laptop for a few days:

  • Cruises - while you can actually continue receiving email and Internet, it is so wildly slow and expensive that you'll stay away unless there's an emergency.
  • Train rides - you can still grab a wireless signal here and there, but most of the railways are in beautiful (but not wireless) areas. My personal favorite is the Empire Builder   train from Chicago through Montana, ending in Seattle.
  • Islands (rural Malysia for example) - I stayed in a condo in Key West three years ago with no Internet (which amazed me). I hear this is more common on islands. In modern island settings you can still get online in a coffee shop if you need to feed your Internet addiction.

It's getting harder to find areas with real disconnection, though, so our window of enforced 'real world' time is closing. Maybe we need to just start acting like grown-ups; realizing that every now and then we have to put down our devices. In fact I'll do that right now, just as soon as I update my Facebook status. And read my email. And see what's happening on Twitter...